Current Status: Under-caffeinated (aka lethargic)
Food Consumed: Mini quiches
On The iPod: Infinity Guitar; Sleigh Bells
Word Count: 715 +
There always comes a time in every new writing project when the “honeymoon” period ends and you’re left feeling flat and, basically, uninspired. For a long time I struggled through these lulls in inspiration and words. I was angry with myself, and so most of the time I wasn’t much fun to be around. I punished myself murderously for the drying up of my words, for losing interest in the story, for wishing I’d never bothered to pick up the pen (or laptop, as the case may be) in the first place. Sometimes my writing block would last a few days, other times weeks. On a few occassions, it’s even been months.
How did I break through the word drought?
Back then, I honestly don’t know. I had no tricks up my sleeve. Literally. All I could manage to do was write the words when they came to me and then spend those times when they didn’t supremely pissed off at myself. I wrote, I fell in love with my words. I stopped, and then I hated them. It was a vicious cycle – and you’ll hear me refer to writer’s block in this sense a lot on this blog, because it is a vicious cycle – and I couldn’t seem to break it no matter how hard I tried to put the words on the pages.
So, what’s changed now?
A lot of things. I’m older, for a start. Not that I think age has anything to do with it, but from my aging has come experience, and I have a certain “wisdom” about the craft that I didn’t have when I started to get really serious with my writing, even a year ago. I’ve also met a lot of great people through various online communities (though mostly through Twitter and Facebook) that have helped me to hone my skills, either through encouragement or little tips that they’ve offered me along the way.
Mostly, though, my attitude towards my writing, and writing in general, has changed. I attended my first writing conference in May, and the day of workshops really helped open my eyes about where I was headed and what I wanted to get out of my writing. Now I’m more serious about my writing than I’ve ever been before, and I know through the experience of the workshops and the feedback I have received from my writing peers that I have the skills to take me as far in the publishing industry as I want to go – I have confidence, and that’s something I’ve not had until now.
Confidence is truly a writer’s best friend. Without it, we’ll be doomed to be amateurs forever!
So, what do I do when the inspiration fades?
I take my iPod and my novel’s playlist and I lie on the bed and just listen. I’ve chosen that particular list of music for a reason, so if it doesn’t inspire me to re-visit my novel then there’s no point even having the playlist, because that’s the only reason to create one in the first place.
I look over my visual inspiration posts on my blog and then I close my eyes and let my mind wander. If I’m really stuck I’ll turn my playlist on and just stare at the pictures so that I’m saturated with inspiration from both mediums.
I tweet or email or text or call – or all of the above! – my critique partner and let her know where I’m stuck and ask for suggestions. Sometimes the best medicine for a slow scene is a once-over by another set of eyes.
I write a poem from the POV of my characters. This is something I’ve only started to do (at the suggestion of my CP), and I’m having marvellous results with it. I promise to post the poems once they are finished, but to tell you the truth, I don’t even have one complete yet because I’ve rushed back to the manuscript so fast! (At least it’s working!)
What do you do when “The Block” sets in? Please share any tricks and tips you may have for beating writer’s block so I can add them to my list!